July 20, 2011 Colorado Winter Wheat Harvest Report

Colorado Winter Wheat Harvest
(July 20, 2011)

On Monday, July 18, USDA estimated that the Colorado winter wheat crop was 53 percent harvested, compared to 35 percent last week, 57 percent last year, and the five year average of 64 percent.

Harvest has been going fast and furious around the state as warm, dry weather has allowed farmers to catch up after being kept out of the fields by rain last week. As the harvest moves to mostly north of I-70, yields are higher than expected for a crop that looked below average in April and May. Harvest is going on simultaneously in areas that would usually be complete by now. Most harvest in the state should wrap up by the weekend if the weather holds, with areas along the Front Range and in the higher-altitude Genoa and Limon areas extending into next week.

Dallas at Cargill-Burlington estimated harvest at 90 to 95 percent complete in that area. Test weight averaged 60 pounds per bushel, moisture content dropped to an average of 10 percent, and protein averaged 11.5 percent. Yields ranged from 20 to 60 bushels to the acre.

CHS Yuma estimated harvest in their area to be about two-thirds percent complete. Steve Klee said there had been no precipitation in the area in the last few days. Moisture content was 9 to 10 percent, test weight averaged 59.99 pounds per bushel, and protein content was lower, averaging 10.86 percent. Yields were mostly in the 50 to 60 bushel to the acre range. He thinks that if they weather holds the area will be 95 percent done with harvest by the weekend.

A Yuma area family farmer said they had been able to harvest steadily for the last two days. Their farm was about 80 percent done with harvest and they thought they would probably wrap up tomorrow. They were seeing test weights of 59 to 60 pounds per bushel, moisture content ranging from 10 to 11.5 percent, and yields of 45 bushels to the acre in wheat that had been hailed, and 60 bushels to the acre in wheat that wasn’t hailed.  Protein content had been around 11 percent with one field higher than 12.

CHS Otis said harvest is about 60 percent done in that area.  They had seen an average of 10.5 percent moisture content, test weight averaging 59.9 pounds per bushel, and a protein average of 10.5 percent. They reported farmers in the area being pleasantly surprised with their yields, with most being near 50 bushels per acre.

Roggen Farmers Elevator said harvest got started in the area late Saturday afternoon and had been going steadily until rain in the area last night, and they weren’t sure when things would pick up today. Keith DeVoe said the winter wheat crop this year is a “miracle crop” considering their area had some of the worst wheat in the state earlier this spring. Yields were above 40 bushels to the acre in an area that had looked to be a disaster in April and early May. Moisture content had been quite dry, in the 10 to 11 percent range, test weights were 57 to 58 bushels to the acre, and protein ranged quite widely, with an average of 11.3 percent. He estimated harvest was 20 percent complete for their area.

A Roggen area farmer said his family had been harvesting pretty steadily for the last few days but was rained out last night while they were harvesting near Hoyt. He thinks that field got at least ½ inch of rain, so they were probably not going to be able to get back out there today. They are about 25 percent done with harvest on their farm, have had moisture content of 12 percent, and saw yields in three different irrigated fields of the variety Snowmass of 85, 100, and 105 bushels to the acre.

Cargill-Byers harvest was 40 percent complete. There was a little rain in the area which might keep farmers out of their fields for a while this morning. Moisture content averaged 11.1 percent, test weight averaged 59.4 pounds per bushel, and protein averaged 11 percent.

A Bennett area grower was about 75 percent done with the farm he harvests with his neighbor, and had not yet started on his own farm. He had been seeing moisture content of 10 percent, test weights of 59 pounds per bushel, and had cut one field yesterday with a 43 bushel per acre yield. They were showered out at about 5:00 last night, and hoped to get started around noon today.

Harvest picked up in the Genoa/Flagler/Arriba area the end of last week. Test weight at the Genoa/Flagler/Arriba Coop averaged 60.9 pounds per bushel, with protein averaging 10.8 percent. Moisture content was 7 to 8 percent at Flagler, and about 10 percent at Arriba. Brent Oestman says yields are better than expected. Harvest is 20 percent complete in Genoa, 45 percent complete in Arriba, and 75 percent complete in Flagler.

A family farmer from near Genoa had started harvest on Sunday, and was seeing moisture contents of 8.5 to 12.5 percent, test weight of 62 pounds per bushel, and yields ranging from 35 to 55 bushels to the acre. His farm was about 15 percent done with harvest.

Grainland Haxtun said they had their first big day on Sunday, July 17.  They said yields in the area were above average, with some farmers reporting yields of 40 bushels to the acre in stubble back wheat, and other fields with yields about 65 bushels to the acre. Grainland had two of their biggest days ever this week in terms of how much wheat was received each day. Moisture content averaged 10.1 percent, test weight averaged 59 pounds per bushel, and protein averaged 9.8 percent.

A Haxtun wheat grower was surprised by yields of 68 bushels to the acre and 45 bushels to the acre in stubble back wheat, when he felt that he had had some poor stands this spring. He started harvest Friday afternoon, and had been going strong since with just enough sprinkles last night to cause him to quit at 8:30. He estimated he was 50 percent done with harvest. Test weights on their farm ranged from 57 to 60 pounds per bushel. Moisture content for his wheat started out at 16.9 percent on Friday afternoon and by four hours later was down to 10 percent because of the heat and the wind.

On July 12, USDA raised the Colorado winter wheat estimated yield to 36 bushels per acre from the earlier estimate of 32 bushels per acre, for total production of 72 million bushels, with 2 million total acres harvested. This estimate compares with 105.75 million bushels produced in Colorado last year and the 10-year average of 67 million bushels. The next update of the estimated yield in the Crop Production Report will be August 11.

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